Game 90, Mariners at Rangers

marc w · July 14, 2022 at 5:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Marco Gonzales vs. Martin Perez, 5:05pm

The M’s got out of Washington, DC late, and only arrived in Arlington this morning at 3am. They had a doubleheader *and* a bullpen day yesterday, meaning their relievers could use some rest. This is a day when Marco’s got to be on it, but it’s also the kind of spot that I think he relishes being in. The Rangers offense looks a bit better than their overall season numbers would suggest, in part because Marcus Semien shook off his April/May slump, and because prized prospect Leody Taveras has finally started hitting at the big league level, slashing .329/.351/.500 in his first 26 games this year, shaking off an awful year last year and a sub-par 2020.

On the hill is the Rangers’ all-star SP, Martin Perez. I mentioned him earlier in the year, but it really is remarkable to see Perez – someone so consistently mediocre – have this kind of success. He absolutely deserves his selection even though he’s not missing bats: he’s been consistently excellent at generating weak contact with his cutter and change. There’s no big pitch design story here; no overhauling of a flawed repertoire, no “found 4 extra MPH after training really hard.” I think his command improved a little bit, and, critically, he’s stopped throwing his worst pitch. In his long career, batters are slugging over .500 off of his four-seam fastball, and over .620 from 2018-2021. It wasn’t his primary pitch, but he threw it enough that these bad results could really spoil an outing. So, he’s…not throwing it much anymore. That’s it, that’s the story.

Of course, there’s still the question of why the cutter that was so bad last year (a run value of 10) is good this year (a run value of -11). The “consistently avoids barrels” thing is awesome, but this is *Martin Perez,* a guy with a very long track record of…NOT avoiding barrels. And as the season’s gone on, the remarkable run he had this April and especially in May looks to have come to an end. He gave up 6 earned in his last outing, and he’s yielded 4 HRs in his last two starts. This is the guy who didn’t give up a HR at all until Eugenio Suarez got him in *June.*

Marco Gonzales remains oddly consistent for a guy whose peripherals bounce all over the place. He settled in for a while as a guy with below average Ks and walks, then saw his K rate jump up a bit while he became an elite control guy in 2020. But in 2021, everything regressed – very low Ks, so-so walk rate, and a sky-high HR rate – itself a product of a vanishing ability to get ground balls. But through all of it, the ERA and overall effectiveness remained oddly static, or close to it. You don’t really know *how* it’s going to happen, or how he’ll get there, but at this point you kind of have to expect an ERA between 3-4, even if it often doesn’t look possible. That’s definitely the case now, where it seems someone told him strikeouts are illegal, and his walk rate is as high as it’s ever been in his career. He’s getting grounders again, but still too many HRs – I just don’t get it. But I’ll take it!

1: Juliooo, CF
2: France, DH
3: Santana, 1B
4: Suarez, 3B
5: Winker, LF
6: Raleigh, C
7: Moore, SS
8: Toro, 2B
9: Haggerty, RF
SP: Gonzales

MLB released their first ever bat-speed measurements, as two parks (the Astros’ and Dodgers’) have installed a set of high-speed cameras capable of measuring the bat’s rotational speed. This Mike Petriello article goes through it all, from the intricacies of *where on the bat you measure* to a leaderboard of fastest swings. They haven’t tracked every player, and they don’t have many swings from non-Astro/Dodger players, but as of right now, the hitter with the fastest average swing? He’s hitting lead-off for the Mariners tonight.

It’s kind of fun to start scoreboard watching. The Jays host the Royals in Toronto, a fact that led the Royals to place *10* players on the restricted list for not having their covid jabs. They’re bringing up *10* players for the minors, including top prospect Nick Pratto. The Red Sox and Rays will beat each other up for a bit, which sounds awesome to me. The Guardians and White Sox are at the periphery of the race (as are, shockingly, the Orioles); more on them if one of them gets above .500 for a spell.


2 Responses to “Game 90, Mariners at Rangers”

  1. nwade on July 14th, 2022 9:41 pm

    You writing more often and the Mariners winning more often – it’s a great combination!

  2. Westside guy on July 16th, 2022 4:33 pm

    13 in a row – halfway to the Giants!

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